Fe­male pro­moter has crit­ics on the ropes

Vuk'uzenzele - - Sport, Agretnser&aclulture - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

Hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion helped box­ing pro­moter Zandile Malinga suc­ceed in a man’s world.

The 33-year-old owner of Star­line Box­ing Pro­mo­tions said crack­ing into the in­dus­try was tough. Es­tab­lished box­ers dis­missed her ca­pa­bil­i­ties be­cause she had not per­son­ally been in­side a box­ing ring, she ex­plained.

She coun­tered that hav­ing been a boxer does not nec­es­sar­ily qual­ify a per­son to be a good box­ing pro­moter. Rather, they need to have a thor­ough un­der­stand­ing of the South African Box­ing Act and the box­ing in­dus­try, and they must have good busi­ness sense and an ex­cel­lent eye for tal­ent.

Malinga’s fa­ther-in-law was Maxwell ‘Shaluza Max’ Malinga, one of South Africa’s most gifted and beloved fight­ers in the 1970s and 80s. He later trained fight­ers and pro­moted tour­na­ments un­der the ban­ner of Star­line Pro­mo­tions.

It was this great man who in­spired her to en­ter the in­dus­try. In those days, it truly was male dom­i­nated, with only a hand­ful of pro­fes­sional women box­ers.

Malinga said her fa­therin-law’s fists pro­vided for his fam­ily and al­lowed him to ven­ture into the world of busi­ness. “I wanted to show women box­ers that be­ing a boxer is a gift that can be used to put food on the ta­ble. It is a gift that you can use to change your life,” she said.

Malinga’s most no­table tour­na­ment was the 2016 in­ter­na­tional ti­tle fight be­tween World Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion su­per wel­ter­weight cham­pion Noni Tenge and Hun­gary’s Szil­via Sz­aba­dos.

“This was the high­light of my box­ing ca­reer; it made even those who looked down on me as a fe­male pro­moter start to re­spect my skills and ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It was my first in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment and it drew in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion.”

Malinga works closely with the KwaZulu-Na­tal De­part­ment of Sport and Recre­ation to scout young fe­male box­ers.

“I re­ally be­lieve that as pro­mot­ers we should not fo­cus only on big tour­na­ments but we should help am­a­teurs es­tab­lish them­selves,” she said. Malinga holds a de­gree in com­mu­ni­ca­tion and speech and drama but she does not see her­self leav­ing the box­ing arena.

FIGHT­ING HER way into a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try was not easy but a KwaZulu-Na­tal woman re­fused to throw in the towel.

Zandile Malinga leads in scout­ing box­ing tal­ent in KwaZulu-Na­tal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.